This Mullah Nasrudin tale appeared in "Peace Tales: World Folktales To Talk About" by Margaret Read Macdonald (Linnet Books: 1992).
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A Dervish Hosts the Mullah, A Tale of Fear
It is said that the Mullah Nasrudin once took shelter in a Dervish's cave. The Mullah had been wandering lost for a long while and was quite thirsty. Now that night had fallen he huddled in the Dervish's cave, quite terrified.
After a while the Mullah asked the Dervish for water.
"I have none in the cave," said the Dervish. "But go down to the spring. It is not far."
The Mullah was much too frightened to venture out into the dark night alone, even for a drink of water
"well, then I will go and bring you water," said the Dervish at last.
"No! Don't go out and leave me alone in this dark cave!"
"Here is a knife," said the Dervish. "If something attacks you can defend yourself with it. But really, you will be quite safe here."
While the Dervish was gone, the Mullah began to imagine all sorts of evils which might enter the cave and attack him. When the Dervish returned with the water, the Mullah shouted in horror and began to stab the air with a sword.
"Halt!" screamed the Mullah.
"But it is only I, the Dervish. I have returned with your water."
"That is what you say. You could be any sort of demon!" And the Mullah continued to defend himself against his imagined horrors.
"This is only fear," said the Dervish. "It is causing you damage."
"I agree," said the Mullah. "But once you catch fear, you have it. And the bad thing is, you don't even have to have it yourself to suffer from it!"
"So I see," said the Dervish. And he went in search of another place to spend the night.
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